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Malaysia opposition leader denounces justice system upon leaving jail

[JURIST] Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was released on bail Thursday, one day after being arrested [JURIST report] by Malaysian authorities investigating sodomy allegations [JURIST report] made against him by a former aide. According to a statement [Anwar blog post] posted Thursday, Anwar was told that he would be released immediately after undergoing DNA testing, but was instead held overnight. In his statement, Anwar indicated that he has no confidence in the Malaysian criminal system, and doubted the credibility of DNA evidence, saying "My accuser is still under police protection, and as such, any fabrication is possible if they take my DNA." The Star reports that at a Thursday afternoon press conference, Anwar demanded a copy of the police report [The Star report] filed by his accuser, and questioned why neither he nor his lawyers had been provided with the report. AFP has more. The New Straits Times has local coverage.

Anwar has claimed that the sodomy allegations leveled against him are politically motivated, and filed a lawsuit against his accuser [JURIST report] in late June. Under Malaysian law, sodomy is punishable by 20 years in prison regardless of consent. Anwar was Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister under former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad [BBC profile] until he was fired in 1998 following earlier sodomy charges of which he was initially convicted but later acquitted. He only recently reentered Malaysian politics following the expiration of a ten-year ban [JURIST report] against him for unrelated corruption charges. Earlier this month the Federal Court of Malaysia ruled he could challenge the constitutionality [JURIST report] of his original dismissal from office.

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